GET INSPIRED: How I Learned to be True to Myselfby Eddie Reed | 1/05/2017
Yoga helped this young man lop off his “locs,” see himself differently, and empower others to look within for the answers they seek.
My name is Eddie Reed and I am a symbol of change. Throughout my entire life I have been an outcast and a challenger of the status quo. I got into Japanese anime in high school—specifically Naruto—which changed my life for the better. It taught me empathy and the importance of being true to myself; and it taught me that strength comes from being unique. I went to A&M for college and, as a Black man from inner city Houston, I found its culture very dissuading. I considered cutting my hair or dying it as a way of fitting in; I’m so thankful that I didn’t. Instead I chose to embrace all that I was by focusing inward and not on others’ perceptions of me. My “locs” became my identity, my brand, part of who I was.
My cousin introduced me to yoga one weekend in 2016, when he came to visit. We chose five poses and held each pose for two to three minutes. I remember thinking “Man this is tiring!” But, after we finished our sequence, I experienced a state of euphoria I’ve never felt before. Shortly after that, I signed up for a semester-long kinesiology class in yoga so I could receive instructions from a certified teacher. During that semester I discovered what true strength is, how to mindfully regulate my body, how to quiet the world around me. Being one of only two males in the class gave me a sense of pride because I found yoga, a journey often overlooked by men because of overactive egos.
After my fifth yoga class or so, I knew I wanted to teach yoga. I wanted to teach everyone, touching the lives of all people within every community, leading them on a path of self-awareness. My entire life I've felt confident in myself; sure, some days I'm more confident than others, but thanks to yoga I can accept that and experience the present for what it is. Yoga found me when I needed it most—as a college student—when doubt and self sabotage is most prevalent. And I wanted to give that gift to others.
YogaFit’s Level Three theme is introspection. The day before the training started, I cut my hair off, something I was never willing to do before. This time was different because I knew in Level Three, I would have 5 years worth of emotions and memories to reflect on. When I cut my hair, I looked in the mirror and the transition was seamless. The face reflected back at me was the face I knew as a child. Yoga allowed me to see and experience this face, my whole being from a different perspective, through my photographic lens. The transition from the locs to a fade was easier for me than everyone around me. When I first got my locs, in my junior year of high school, nobody liked them. Four years later, when I cut them off, everyone was sad!
My yoga journey feels like a path of no return—in a good way. Every training, every practice I do, and every book I read help craft the being I aspire to be.This year I will be a 200 hour RYT. With this credential I will be able to empower athletes, families, and individuals to look within for the answers they seek.
For more information on Level Three: Introspection, click here.
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